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December 14, 2012
Sermanni looks forward to starting with USWNT

By Norb Ecksl
Soccer News Net Contributor

BOCA RATON, Fla.---More than 500 soccer fans watched the US Women’s National Team work out prior to the final match of their 2012 Fan Tribute Tour. And one of the most important pair of eyes belonged to Coach Tom Sermanni, recently installed to lead the team for 2013 and beyond.

“I’m excited and this is a surreal feeling,” he stated. “This is a great opportunity for me. But it’s daunting as well!” The US Women did well this year, with a 27-1-3 record along with bringing home the Gold in the Olympic Games. “This is unusual,” explained Sermanni, “where I am taking over a successful program. Right now I’m in transition between the Australian and American programs. And I’m ready.”

He loves the team. You can tell by his enthusiasm. They can really play. And he knows it. “I have the opportunity to coach the number one team in the world. I’m looking forward to working with everyone in the program,” he said. “The pressure is the same as it is in any winning program. Regardless of what you do, you have to move the program ahead and step forward. This is a highly-achieving group and I’m here to let the players play.”

There will be some initial challenges. He calls himself an offensive style of coach. “In the beginning, we’ll try not to lose games,” he stated. “This team has done some great things and is made up of great players. They are formidable, match-winning players.”

Sermanni looks forward to preparing for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. “I won’t have to make any changes in the team culture. The history and results prove that. I’ll add a little bit of my own and then we’ll build on that.”

He is very satisfied with the work interim coach Jill Ellis and her staff have done in transition since the departure of Pia Sundhage. “I have a great relationship with them. They have done a superb job.”

Sermanni’s arrival coincides with the establishment of a new women’s professional league, backed in part by not only US Soccer, but the national federations of Canada and Mexico. He admits that the new league “will create some ups and downs.

“Having players playing across the US creates some difficulty and it’s trickier to get access to them. Logistically, it would be easier to just play at a home base and work out. But,” he explained quickly, “it’s great that they’re playing…and that’s still most important.”

The new league will give Sermanni the ability to scout more players than usual. That means more players will get a chance to make the team even better. “It gives everyone a chance to play against a good level of competition.” he explained. “It also will give me a chance to see how others play against them.”

But there is a downside too. “There was no league this year and the team was able to be together a lot longer. Just like a club team. That led to good preparation and success in tournaments. With a league, a little time will be lost for the players to be playing together.”

In their 31 matches this year, the USWNT scored 116 goals and gave up just 20. With his experience and enthusiasm for a lifetime in the sport, Sermanni will have a lot of fun in 2013, and beyond.

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